We love our married friends. Really, we do. We are grateful for every single one of them and how we’ve shared so many seasons of our lives together. They are a gift, and we do not take our friendships with them lightly.
However, when we throw around words like “community” and “friendships,” we often hear from you about your struggle to connect with other singles. You feel like you’ve got a host of married friends on lock down, but when it comes to singles, you are lacking. Maybe you live in a small town and struggle to find other Christian singles at all. Or maybe you’re a member of a large singles group and you have a difficult time discovering the smaller group of people you really click with.
We feel your pain. Really, we do. And we’re not going to lie to you–it’s not easy. Because the truth of the matter is many times you’re going to have to be the one to make the first move. And not just once, but repeatedly. Rarely do friendships just fall into our laps. It takes a lot of work to not only find community but also to cultivate it.
And here’s the hard truth–and it’s said with nothing but love: Sometimes it’s easier to stay in our own little worlds and lament our lack of friends than to actually do something about it.
By the way, we’re not just talking about same sex friendships either. Cultivating friendships with people of the opposite sex can be tricky, too. You know, because there’s that whole underlying question of whether or not one of you wants to date the other. But guy/girl friendships can be so fun and such a blessing. When both parties are consistently clear that it’s purely platonic, then there’s much to be learned from being in a friendship with a member of the opposite sex.
So if you’ve been hoping to cultivate or strengthen your relationships with other singles, and you’re ready to jump in and do the work it takes, then we’ve come up with 8 ideas that might help you out. Some are big and require some advanced planning, while others are small and require nothing more of you than a phone call or text. But then, that’s the hardest part sometimes, isn’t it?
1. Road Trip
Build a friendship around your common interests. Gather a group of people together–even if everyone doesn’t know each other–and take a road trip to see your favorite band play or to camp in a state park or to celebrate July 4th at a festival. Nothing bonds people like traveling together. But be careful: nothing grates on your nerves worse than whiny traveling companions. Observe carefully and choose wisely. We’re just sayin’…
2. Dinner Club
Do your friends have other single friends you’d like to get to know better? See if they’re interested in being a part of a dinner club that meets monthly. Limit members to 6-8 or a number that is conducive to more intimate conversation. Rotate dinners from house to house with each month having a different themed meal. Assign someone to be responsible for dinner conversation topics each evening.
3. Go shopping together
Guys, sometimes you really wish you had a female input on your home or your clothes. And girls, sometimes you wish you had a guy’s input on a electronic purchase or car repairs. This does not mean either sex isn’t fully capable of doing these things on their own, it’s just that occasionally it would be nice to have the opposite sex’s opinion or help. Break down and ask. (Ask!) Partially because it’s good for us to actually ask someone to help us when we need it, but also because it’s a good way to get to know someone better over neutral ground. (But ask someone who seems trustworthy because you don’t want them telling the world how you thought navy and black matched. That info should be kept between friends.)
4. Pinterest Parties
So you’re a Pinterest addict and you’ve pinned so many recipes and crafts that you sometimes forget all you’ve pinned. A Pinterest Party is a great way to strengthen old relationships and make new ones. Invite some single girlfriends you know already, have each of them invite a single friend, and tell everyone to bring a recipe they’ve pinned. But keep the numbers small so you can have real conversations while you’re all having fun making something.
5. Book Club
There are plenty of opportunities for Bible study at church, but if you like to read and you know other singles that do too, even if they live an hour or two away, then starting a monthly (or every-other-month) book club is a great way to build relationships and get to know each other further. It’s probably a good idea to have an initial conversation about everyone’s expectations first, though. Because, you know, just because you’ve been dying to read War and Peace doesn’t mean everyone else has (or will).
6. Train Together
If you’re into running or biking and you know other singles who are, invite them to train and sign-up for the next marathon or bike ride together. While you might not live close enough to train together daily, offer to meet on middle ground at least once a week and build a relationship while working toward a common goal.
7. Game Night
There are so many avid Settlers of Catan players right now that it shouldn’t be too difficult to find other singles who are as hard core about the game as you are. They might even have their own expansion pack like you do. Set up a game night once a month (or week, if you’re eager) and invite friends of friends to join you. So Settlers isn’t your thing? Rock Band, Speed Scrabble, Poker–whatever it is. Make it happen!
8. Help with Online Dating Profiles
We all could use some help from members of the opposite sex from time to time, and no time is more obvious than when we’re filling out those pesky online dating profiles. It’s hard trying to get into the mind of a guy or girl and figure out which photos say what we want them to say or how to word answers to ridiculous questions like, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” And although no one wants to break down and ask for help, you’d be surprised at how relieved a person of the opposite sex can be when you ask for their assistance with your profile. Choose someone you trust and someone you know has good taste. Bonding over online dating is inevitable; there are just too many crazy stories to tell.
What other ideas do you have for cultivating or strengthening relationships with other singles?
Photo credit: tmab2003